Have a tough decision to make? Here's how to make it wisely...
When we have to make a big decision it can quickly become painful and all consuming. I’m not talking about choosing curtains or deciding which Pret sandwich to have for lunch, I mean the real humdingers. Like whether to leave a job that tops up your bank account each month but destroys your soul. Or ending a relationship with someone you really like but know isn’t for you long term.
What we truly want and what is best for us can be hard to make sense of, so here’s a thought recipe to help you understand your feelings and find the best way forward.
- Write down the tough decision and the possible choices you’ve identified so far.
- Think about each choice in turn paying attention to how you feel about it in three different places - your head, your heart and your gut.
- Write down all your thoughts and feelings for each.
Here’s a little more information about what head, heart and guts are to help you:
Your head is your conscious reasoning - the sensible voice that approaches any dilemma rationally and logically. It’s a good one to listen to when you’ve had an especially shit day and are considering running away to join the circus.
Your gut instinct is the mysterious yet compelling feeling we have about something but don’t know why. It’s automatic and guided by our unconscious mind. Our brain processes the situation so quickly we can’t explain what we feel. It’s your gut instinct talking when we take an instant dislike to someone.
Your heart considers values, joy, pleasure and love when making decisions.
If you’re able to reflect honestly on all three parts you’ll start to get clarity and also challenge any unhelpful thoughts or feelings. `But, you can’t rely on any one in isolation to make the best decision.
Be wary of your brain. How many of us have taken a promotion because the money’s great, it’s a logical next career move but our hearts just aren’t in it. In fact, the idea of doing this kind of role in 10 years time leaves an awful sinking feeling (me!).
But following your heart can sometimes result in chasing an implausible dream. I love eating chocolate ice cream but realistically don’t think I can make money from that (or can I? No, no I can’t).
You’ll have met people who say they trust their gut instinct above all when making big life decisions. Our gut instinct has evolved over our entire lifetime to make lightning speed judgments based on patterns from our past. Sounds smart huh? But these unconscious processes aren’t always working in our best interest. They can result in decisions based on bias, prejudice and flaws. A good example of this is fear – feeling fear could actually be an unconscious hangover from a past experience that’s similar but not the same to the current one. Examine the evidence for this feeling before writing something off based on fear alone.
Are things getting clearer yet? Have more choices appeared?
Okay, so it’s not a simple process but reflecting on what your combined head heart and guts tell you might help narrow down and understand your true feelings. This new awareness should then enable you to take an informed step forward confidently.
So, what would you really like to do? If you’d like to do some quality thinking together about your situation feel free to get in touch ☺